- Mridula Pradhan
The Godfather or God the Father
God. What is the image that comes to your mind when you hear this word? If you are thinking of an old man with a long beard and a frown, clothed in white and sitting on a throne far away surrounded by clouds – this article, my friend, is for you! Well you see. You could not be more wrong. God is not a moral police with a list of dos and don’ts keeping a record of all your mistakes and frowning on you.
Our understanding of God and how he looks at us shapes who we are. It is the compass that directs us for the rest of our lives. Our personalities. Our decisions and choices. Our relationships with family and friends. Everything.
In Mathew 6, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus introduced God to them as a FATHER. “Our FATHER who art in heaven”. God could have chosen to relate to us as anything/anyone – but he chose to relate to us as a FATHER.
A father is a symbol of love, security and permanence in the lives of his children.
This is a picture of my father giving me a hug on my birthday. I love this pic!
Let me share with you a childhood experience.
I don't know about you, but as a kid, exam times were pretty intense for me. Even though I studied really hard, sometimes I’d find myself go blank when the question paper was in front of me. One morning, my father saw me leaving for school with a worried look on my face. "Don't worry." He said. "If you get nervous. Just think of me." He gave me an assuring smile as I left home, a bundle of nerves. Question paper. Palpitation. Sweaty palms. Half the class would have asked for extra answer sheets... and then the thing that I dreaded the most happened. I'd went blank. Pure unadulterated fear. Pending doom. Apocalypse. The end of the world as I knew it! As I desperately tried to gather myself I remembered my father’s words. His smile. The reassuring tone of his voice. His nod. You see, fear and security are mutually exclusive. Sweet sanity flooded back. It all came back. All that I studied. I'd took a deep breath and started writing.
I have met a lot of people with dysfunctional father/son or father/daughter relationships. Some fathers were either absent or aloof. Some strict and judgmental. And some were outright abusive.
They have not tasted the love and security that only a father can bring into one's life. I feel deeply for them. This is a fatherless generation.
And this is the lens with which we see God. Oh how wrong we are!
Let me help you correct your perspective.
All of us are familiar with the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15.
Luke 15:20 "So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him."
If you notice, the father ran to meet his son. In the first century, a Middle Eastern man never ran. Why?Matt Williams explains this beautifully in his article "The Prodigal Son’s Father Shouldn’t Have Run!"
If he were to run, he would have to hitch up his tunic so he would not trip. If he did this, it would show his bare legs. In that culture, it was humiliating and shameful for a man to show his bare legs.
If a Jewish son lost his inheritance among Gentiles, and then returned home, the community would perform a ceremony, called the kezazah. They would break a large pot in front of him and yell, “You are now cut off from your people!” The community would totally reject him.
So, why did the father run? He probably ran in order to get to his son before he entered the village. The father runs — and shames himself — in an effort to get to his son before the community gets to him, so that his son does not experience the shame and humiliation of their taunting and rejection. The village would have followed the running father, would have witnessed what took place at the edge of the village between father and son. After this emotional reuniting of the prodigal son with his father, it was clear that their would be no kezazah ceremony; there would be no rejecting this son — despite what he has done. The son had repented and returned to the father. The father had taken the full shame that should have fallen upon his son and clearly shown to the entire community that his son was welcome back home.
Wow. How does that contrast with the image of God in your mind?
The heavenly father created you. He loves you. He is for you and not against you. He wants you to know that He is there for you.
I hope this article has inspired you to examine your perspective and how you view God and align your understanding to His.
About the Author:
Wife to Danston, Mridula is a worshiper and a teacher in the body of Christ.
She works in the field of data analytics and consulting in the pharmaceutical domain.
She hails from Darjeeling, India and needless to say loves her Darjeeling tea!